Italian Open: Sergio Garcia says organisers should be proud of hosting strong tournament

Masters champion Sergio GarciaGETTY

Sergio Garcia will be playing in Italy for the first time as a professional

Masters champion Garcia has played in Italy many times as an amateur, but he has never done so as a professional.

The Spaniard goes into the tournament after parting ways with TaylorMade - ending a 15-year relationship with the company.

Garcia will take to the course alongside fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm, while home favourite Francesco Molinari will be desperate to retain the title he won last year.

Meanwhile, Tyrrell Hatton, who triumphed at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships, goes into the tournament in a rich vein of form.

And Garcia thinks the Italian Open is an important tournament.

He said: “It is a strong tournament and you can judge it by the quality of the field.

“It’s extremely good and I think they should be proud of it.”

When asked about making his professional debut in Milan, Garcia added: “I’ve played here many times as an amateur but never as a professional.

“I heard really good things about it.

“I’m excited to have a nice week here and obviously the amazing weather and the food so it’s all good.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming back to Italy. It’s very similar to Spain.

“Even my relationship with the Italian players is very good, so I’m sure it’s gonna be a fun week.”